Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Aylestone Meadows football pitch plan branded "senseless"


I have written before about opposition to Leicester City Council's plans to site an AstroTurf sports pitch and an accompanying clubhouse and parking on Aylestone Meadows.

Yesterday's Leicester Mercury revealed that a report commissioned by the city council's own planning department shows that Aylestone already has more sports pitches than any other part of Leicester.

This strengthens the protestors' case that this new facility should be built somewhere else in the city and leave Aylestone Meadows for everyone to enjoy.

3 comments:

Phil Beesley said...

After reflection, I am not in favour of this particular development of Aylestone Meadows. My opposition is based on road traffic.

I think that the existing presence of so many sports pitches weakens the wildlife protection argument, however. Wildlife has flourished alongside young cricket and football players. Nature learns to live with car parks and pavilions. The proposed development would be a small but ugly dot in that landscape.

Aylestone Meadows are not just the public parkland and the existing sports facilities (eg St Andrew's FC), but the fields that are rented for horse grazing, and the other agricultural land that extends to Fosse Park. Heading into the city, British Gas or whatever they are called own a further wedge that funnels into the Raw Dykes. Across the road from British Gas is a wonderful wilderness. We need to protect this environment, but I suspect that the British Gas wedge between Aylestone Road and Saffron Lane is the most valuable.

I am unconvinced by the argument that Aylestone has too many sports facilities. Aylestone was incorporated into the city in c.1880 and has lots of green space. It is lovely. It is why I live here. Aylestone needs to be compared with other places on the outskirts that are green. I'll bet that lots of them have loads of sports pitches.

According to the report in the Leicester Mercury, Stoneygate does not have enough sports pitches. Short of house demolition, how do you resolve that? And Aylestone is where many people from the Narborough Road estates go to play and walk. The utility of Aylestone Meadows is not defined by ward boundaries.

Susan said...

Whilst it is true there has always been sports pitches in one form or another in the area, it is the type of scheme that is significant, in that this proposal wants to erect 10 x 16m high floodlights and parking for 150 cars. This is hardly sustainable and in fact is contrary to Sport England's own guidance on Environmental Sustainability.
Such light pollution is bound to have a detrimental effect on night creatures such as bats and owls whose foraging ground will be disturbed. Add to that the noise of spectators and cars revving up, it is hardly conducive to a nature reserve or a quiet stroll for that matter.
Equally disturbing for me is the autocratic attitude of the Council in assuming that every single person in the city has nothing better to do than play football, when the reality is that the thousands of people who use the Meadows both in/outwith the city engage in a number of activities including walking, running, cycling, riding, rowing and nature watching.
The comments in the article by Cllr Wann that 'It's just one or two people from Aylestone campaigning against this
when the football pitches will be for the whole city' is ridiculous, especially when there are plans to build similar facilities in other parts of the city. Already over 2000 people on Facebook alone have objected to this particular scheme. Further comments in the article "As far as I can think there is no football
provision in Aylestone so, no, I don't agree that there is a better
place for it." The fact is that the Aylestone Meadows area already has 17 ordinary grass pitches and a nearby football club.

Even more disturbing is the Council's apparent reluctance to believe its own documentation that Aylestone already has more than enough sports facilities!!

Susan Eppel
Leicester

David said...

I'm not from the area so cannot be considered a NIMBY, but surely there are many other more viable sites in and around the area?

David.
http://www.keelbyunited.co.uk